My last update came to you on Wednesday morning, after they started me on the pitocin (low dose). Vivienne came to visit in the afternoon, which was awesome. We hadn't seen her since Tuesday morning. They left and by 3:30p that day, I really began to hurt. I texted my doula who asked if I could talk through the contractions. I told her I mainly wanted to hold my breath, but I didn't feel it necessary for her to run in (she was about 20 minutes away). I continued to contract at three minutes apart and walked around, focusing on my cervix opening up with each pain. I cannot stress this enough - relaxing every single body part/muscle is what helps you to get through it. You must also take it serious when people say to rest as much as possible. They started me off at 6mu/minute and by the end of the day, I was on 18mu/minute of pitocin. At around 5p., Dr. Dorn came in and asked how I was doing. I told him I was in a lot of pain but it was bearable. In my mind, I felt like at most I would be 1 cm, but I was praying praying praying for the minimum dilation/effacement that Dorn wanted to see as I remembered in Viv's labor when they checked me at one point and I thought I was 6 or 7 and only was 2 cm dilated.
He checked my cervix and I was 1 cm and 80% effaced. This was a huge accomplishment considering that same morning I was 0/0 - absolutely no signs of labor and cervix very high. This stage takes weeks in normal early labor, so I made it to the goal of the day. He stopped my pitocin and told me the nurse would give me an Ambien that night as he really wanted me to get a good sleep before starting the hard labor Thursday morning. He told me he was hopeful that my body would continue contracting or really pick up through the night. I ate a really good dinner and met someone who I feel is partially responsible for the wonderful outcome. My nurse Kathy came in and told me she heard my story and read my chart. She saw a book I had in my room called "Power of a Praying Wife". She asked if I was a Christian and I told her yes, and we had an hour long conversation that gave me a lot of peace. She was a VBAC mom as well. When it was time for me to go to bed, she asked if she could pray over me while holding my hand. It brought me to tears. When I looked up at her, she said she really felt the Lord leading her to do more and asked if she could tell her pastor my first name and spend time praying for me through the night and next day. She would be off shift by 7a. I was so touched and said, "Please do... it means so much to me." Through the next day, random nurses came in to tell me that Kathy called and asked for an update and to let me know she was fasting and praying. Gosh - I can't tell you what this meant. Back to physical updates...
So Wednesday night, my contractions slowly spaced out and became random. I only remembered waking up a few times with a painful contraction. I was discouraged when I woke up around 6a. the following morning. Though I slept a full night, I was groggy (from the Ambien) and had no contractions whatsoever. My nurse from the daytime before (Kristin) came in and said we are going to see this through. She was working until around 8p Thursday night and said she wanted to see my baby before the end of her shift. Oh my goodness, I loved her. She was a KEY player throughout the entire process. She had drug-free labors herself and said she was a huge fan of Dr. Dorn. She was hilarious, blunt, and helped me alongside the doula when things got tough. She went above and beyond being just my nurse. I'll talk about her more soon.
Thursday - Birth Day
7:30a. - Dr. Dorn came in and checked me. No changes from the night before. I was sad, but not surprised.
8:00a. - Pitocin was started at 8mu/minute and upped every 30 minutes to an hour.
10:00a - Starting to feel intense pain.
10:11a. - Texted my doula (Cortney) and asked if she would be able to come in by 12p. I perceived that things were going to transition to "unbearable" soon as I had to really focus on breathing through the pain. My sister Michelle was rubbing my back and helping me. This is the only reason I didn't ask her to come in right then. I felt my sister was doing a great job and was encouraging me along. It's not that I didn't want my doula - it's just that I hated to bring her in to sit in the room if nothing was going on.
10:59a. - Texted Cortney - "I don't know if I can do this." My nurse Kristin came in to help me get through contractions. They were every 2 minutes apart and hurting bad. This is when I started thinking about pain meds but kept scolding myself, saying that it would stall labor if I did. Cortney asked if I wanted her to come in.
11:20a - Texted Cortney, "12:30 okay?" I was thinking that the longer I could go without pain meds and professional help, the more progress I would have.
12:18p - Texted Cortney - "Should I take Stadol? I'm in too much pain right now." I had asked my nurse what other option was there outside of an epidural. She told me about Stadol but said it would make me feel really woosy. I asked her if it would stall labor and she said no, it would just take the edge off at MOST. My sister Michelle said, "MaryBeth, I would reconsider... that made me so delirious that I was seeing things in my labor. It was horrible and didn't help me at all." I asked my nurse to check me first before anything. I wanted to know if this hard labor meant anything. I was only at 2 cm by this point. Cortney texted back, "Stadol often makes people sick or feel out of control while not giving much relief. I am on my way now. Can you try breathing through until I arrive?"
12:24p. - I texted, "I just can't. I am barely making this. I am having horrible pain."
12:29p. - Cortney texted, "Have you recently had someone pray over you for peace?" I was wondering when she asked if she meant for the present, or if she sensed that someone had prayed over me. I remembered Kathy from the night before and remembered she was fasting for me. I got a charge from this and told myself I have to grit and bear it. I put my phone away and could NOT text and barely could talk through the following.
1p. - Cortney arrived with the birthing ball. Kristin was holding my hands and telling me, "MaryBeth, you have to breathe. Don't hold your breath. Relax your face, relax your legs, relax your hands." She would physically grab a body part that would tense/tighten up and make me relax it. This helped TREMENDOUSLY. You don't realize in what ways you physically react to pain because all you can think about is the pain itself which is intensified when you tighten up. It's bearable when your body/soul is at peace and accepting of the process. She asked if she could check me. It was painful to do this while I was contracting. I was 3 cm.
Appx 3p. - I asked for the Stadol. I told Cortney I needed help bad. As told by EVERYONE in my labor room, it sent me to the edge. I was loopy, extremely exhausted after taking it, and it did not even take the edge off of my contractions which were now down to 1-2 minutes apart. I asked Kristin to please turn my pitocin down and she told me no that pain was good and that I'm progressing as I hurt. She told me she would not let me quit. I was dozing off in between contractions even though just a minute break, then waking up with extreme pain. I was so aggravated that I was so tired and not able to tolerate it anymore because of the stadol knocking me out.
4:00p. - I told Cortney I couldn't go anymore and asked for the epidural. I was crying and nearly histerical. It hurt so bad. The problem was that I waited to get to this point to ask for the epidural.
4:30p - (It took about 30 more minutes for us to tell a nurse to get an anesthesiologist and for him/her to get up there.) I can't tell if you if the anesthesiologist was a male or female. I could not open my eyes. The only memory I have was that they had me lie on my side in bed and then it was all over. Johannes said as soon as the medicine took, I fell asleep. I don't remember any part of it.
6:00p - I woke up and saw that Cortney was the only one in my room. She was calm and smiled at me. I wanted to burst out crying. It felt like I was waking up after a horrible accident. It was just calm, as I said. I could feel the contractions happening, but no pain. I could move my right leg, but not my left. I felt 100% opposite of anything I had felt at 4:00. I asked her how long I had been out and she said 1 1/2 hours. I didn't believe it. It felt like it had been at least 4 hours because I was so rested. I was disappointed in myself for getting the epidural. I had resigned in my mind that things would most likely stall now and I would get a section that night.
7:00p - Dr. Dorn came in to check me. He asked how I was feeling and I said, totally different. I wasn't surprised to hear him say 3 cm. He said if I progress 1 cm per hour, I could deliver about 1a., but I didn't take it to heart as everything happened for me at 2 cm when I was laboring with Vivienne. I just didn't see any progress in my future. After that entire afternoon, I was still 3 cm... I was so disappointed.
HOWEVER, As soon as he left, Kristin (the nurse) said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to re-check you. I just don't believe you are 3 cm." She said that his hands were bigger and to tell how much a person is progressing, you really need to have the same person check you. She had told Dr. Dorn that I was 3 cm earlier in the day. She checked me immediately after he left and she smiled so big and said "You are stinkin' 5 cm, not 3!" I said, "Don't lie - I'm serious, you need to tell me the truth." And she showed me how big she measured with her hands and said, this is what you were earlier and this is what you are now - that's 5 cm. You are going to progress from here!" I could have cried. I had read in books that once you get to about 4 or 5, typically things speed up. My goal was always 4 cm in my head - like it would be okay if I could just get there. I asked Kristin what she thought about it all. She said, "I suspect that you will continue to go slow, but I DO think you're gonna have this baby tonight and I'm gonna stay until it's born!" I just smiled! I had hope again!
7:30p - Cortney and I had a wonderful conversation. I was at peace and I really got to know her. This was a special time between us. One theme stayed consistent for all three days that I was in the hospital. God was so present. Our conversations in the labor room focused around the Lord.
8:00p - I told Cortney I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. We laughed and continued with our conversation. A few minutes later, I felt like it again and told her. She went and got Kristin who said, "Are you sure?? Usually people only feel this when they are ready to push, If you feel this way in a bit, let me know and we'll check you. It's only been an hour since we checked you last."
8:30p. - I called for Kristin. I told her and Cortney that I really felt I had to go. She agreed to check me and even prefaced by saying, "Don't be surprised if you haven't changed much." At this time, Dr. Dorn came in and she told him what I was feeling. He said he would go ahead and check me. He looked up at me and said, "You're fully."
I was like, "Full of what? What do you mean?"
Kristin said, "MaryBeth! You are fully dilated!" I looked at Cortney and she just smiled ear to ear and whispered, "You did it! You're going to have a VBAC!"
I was stunned and speechless! Totally totally unexpected. I kept asking over and over again and Kristin and Cortney were just so excited and pumping me up. Dorn had told me in the meantime that I was still at a station -2 and we needed the baby to descend and it would probably take another 1-2 hours before being ready to push. Kristin told me with every contraction, if I had that "need to go" feeling, to lightly bear down and it should help him descend - only if I had that urge.
9:30p - I told Kristin that I needed to push. She checked me and his head was right there. She went and got Dr. Dorn. Everything was so awesome and light hearted. Cortney, Dr. Dorn, Kristin, and Johannes were joking and taking bets on the exact minute. I would interrupt the funny conversations only to tell them I had a contraction coming. They would all jump into position, pull my legs up and get serious. It was really humorous from my point of view, but so awesome that it was such a great atmosphere. Dr. Dorn turned the light off. It was only us 4 in the room - no one coming in and out.
9:55p - Kristin and Cortney told me to reach down and grab him. I pulled him up to my chest. Dr. Dorn wasn't even the first person to hold Hendrik. I was the very first person to hold my son. I pulled him to my chest and Dorn waited for the cord to stop pulsing before having Johannes cut it. In those moments, Hendrik just looked around. He was silently laying on my chest and Johannes and I were in awe. Tears were streaming down my face. After the cord was cut, we heard his first little cry. It was so beautiful.
My water broke at 3:30a. on Tuesday morning. Hendrik was born at 9:55p. on Thurday night. Early labor took over two days, but I progressed from 5 to 10 cm in 1 1/2 hours. I only pushed for 20 minutes. I never ever thought that any part of this was going to go fast. God blessed me with this big finale. I am not exaggerating or even bragging when I say that everything was SO perfect in the final hours.
I have never been so proud of having a cone-headed baby. The mark of pride.
Johannes brought him back to me after they measured him, then they placed a matching bracelet on me.
Please don't rob yourself of attempting to experience this miracle. It is so possible. I know many c-sections are necessary and can also give you a beautiful moment. But I can't even describe fully the euphoria of bringing my son into this world from my own hands. I have never experienced a high like that moment. I will never ever forget it.
I have posted some pics I would never post on Facebook. I look horrendous, but I wanted you to walk with me to the end of this road as you all began this process with me not many months ago.
Thank you for what you have done. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support and encouragement. You are every bit as responsible as Dr. Dorn to help bring Hendrik to this world. The Lord heard our prayers and God, I thank YOU for allowing me this great opportunity!!!! You are SO GOOD! Birth is truly a miracle and we recognize that every good thing comes from YOU!
HENDRIK JOHANNES SLABBERT
BORN ON JUNE 9, 2011 AT 9:55P
7 LB, 8,5 OZ.
20 1/2 INCHES LONG
Proud Pappa - Johannes Slabbert
Proud Sister - Vivienne Slabbert
Just Proud - His VBAC Mommy
7 LB, 8,5 OZ.
20 1/2 INCHES LONG
Proud Pappa - Johannes Slabbert
Proud Sister - Vivienne Slabbert
Just Proud - His VBAC Mommy